Refreshing Vanilla Citrus Fizz
Friday, February 21, 2014
I can always count on the team over at the Recipe Redux to inspire (and sometimes intimidate) me with their monthly recipe challenges. This month proved to be no different when they invited their contributors to come up with a healthy version of a favorite drink (boozy or virgin; hot or cold). I’m not much of a cocktail girl–I’m more likely to “spend” my treat calories on a cookie or something (anything) chocolate. Besides, beer is more my style (don’t judge).
Though I do have to confess to a budding obsession with the Ramos Gin Fizz. Much to my chagrin, it’s a cocktail that few bartenders tackle, so I don’t have the opportunity to enjoy it very often. So, when this latest Recipe Redux challenge landed in my in-box, I was immediately inspired by this fun and fizzy cocktail.
Now, I am in no way a closet bar tender. My Bloody Mary is barely passable and my idea of a ‘full bar’ is a bottle of gin, some tonic water and maraschino cherries (for munching as I make a simple gin & tonic). Needless to say, this recipe was going to require some research.
According to my findings, the primary ingredients in a Ramos Gin Fizz (named for the New Orleans-based bartender to invented it in the late 1800’s) are gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg whites, heavy cream, seltzer, simple syrup, vanilla and orange flower water (though apparently the vanilla is a disputed ingredient…how scandalous). I happen LOVE the combination of vanilla & citrus, so I had already planned to include it even before I set about discovering the way to creating a proper cocktail. As you can probably see from the ingredients, this is not a figure-friendly cocktail.
How to make it lighter but just as delightful?
First, I eliminated the gin. I know…what a buzz kill. But really, it’ll save you 100 calories…and maybe your dignity since I guarantee that you’ll want more than one of these little numbers. I also replaced the heavy cream with half & half, and added orange juice to make up for some of the lost sweetness from the elimination of the simple syrup (though I did use a bit of agave).
Here’s the part of the Ramos Gin Fizz that reduces even the most seasoned of cocktail adventurists to jello-armed heaps of dismay–the egg whites must be fluffy and almost meringue-like. Without the use of a blender or mixer. It’s just you, a cocktail shaker, ice and a dogged determination to shake the living….
…you get the picture.
How very 1800’s
So, I cheated. Because I used pasteurized egg whites, there was simply no way I was going to get the fluffy consistency needed for this one, so I popped them into a high-powered blender and I let-her-rip for a few seconds…just until they became foamy. From there, I took a pretty traditional approach to preparation. The result….this lovely, luscious dare I say sexy (and better for you) drink:
Refreshing Vanilla Citrus Fizz
servings: makes one cocktail | time: about 10 minutes
1 ounce (2 TBSP.) fresh lemon juice
1 ounce (2 TBSP.) fresh lime juice
1 ounce (2 TBSP.) fresh orange juice
1 TBSP. agave nectar
3-4 drops pure vanilla extract
2-3 drops orange flower water (sometimes called orange blossom) (optional)
(OPTIONAL) I did not use gin in this recipe—use 1 1/2 ounces (3 TBSP.) if you plan to make this a grown-up drink))
4 TBSP. pasteurized liquid egg white
Plain seltzer water
1. Place the lemon, lime and orange juices in a cocktail shaker. Add the agave nectar, vanilla, orange flower water and gin (if using). Set aside
2. Place the egg whites in the container of a blender. Blend on the highest setting until the thicken slightly and become white & frothy
3. Add 6 ice cubes to the shaker and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Add the frothy egg whites and shakes vigorously for 2-3 minutes
4. Pour into a tall 16-ounce glass and slowly add the seltzer until filled to the top. Garnish with grated lemon, lime and orange peel
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